09 November 2005

Amman fatality

The New York Times published at least two explicit photos of victims of violence today. (One is of a Marine being carried away from an explosion in Iraq). This one, by Ali Jarekji, via Reuters, is captioned, The first blast in Amman, Jordan, occurred at about 8:50 p.m. at the luxury Grand Hyatt hotel and completely shattered its stone entrance. First, I was struck by the patch of red, the blood, which is uncommon in US coverage, then I was reproaching myself for noting how uncommonly beautiful the photo is formally: the massed figures, the overlapping triangles of light and shadow, the blurred hands, as if plotted and executed by a contemporary fine arts photographer in the vein of Philip-Lorca diCorcia. What danger lies in estheticizing a photograph such as this?